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Hullabaloo


Sunday, September 18, 2011

 
More of this, please
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Well, whaddaya know:

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal by late November, the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.


Does it have a chance of passing the Republican House or the worthless collection of conservative "Democratic" Senators? Of course not. Does that matter? No, it doesn't. It's there to send a political message, communicate Democratic values to the voting electorate, and make Republicans squirm in their chairs. Good. All that is needed now is for Democrats to stand as firm on the Buffett rule as the GOP will stand on cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. If that means no budget gets passed, then fine. Hang it on the Republicans. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid suck, and Republicans should be blamed for all three: stopping the Buffett rule, trying to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and preventing America from having a budget. A perfect political trifecta. Hopefully the President's advisers can see the obvious.

It would appear that Obama the legislative conciliator has given way to Obama the political campaigner. This is where he is at his best. This is the Obama that cleaned Republican clocks in 2008. Republicans and centrist compromise fetishists in the Democratic Party will no doubt complain about it, and decry that we have moved to the "silly season" of campaign mode in which no legislation can be accomplished.

In reality, this is the mode Obama should have adopted throughout the entirety of his first four years. Conservatives never stop being in campaign mode. That's part of why their message is almost always clear. That's why legislation gets passed that fits their parameters or doesn't pass at all if they can help it, whether they're actually in power or not.

It's Democrats who are so often fooled into believing that when campaign season ends, legislative season begins. There is, in fact, no difference between the two for policymakers who actually want to be successful and implement a vision.

Long live campaign season.


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